This is a book that crosses so many genres. It is a thriller. It is a romance. It is a travelogue. It is all these things and much more. Set on a Cruise Liner ploughing the waters of the Caribbean, 'The Buried Life' follows the heroine, Leigh Anne McCormack, as she takes the holiday of a lifetime, falls in love and begins to understand that the ship she is sailing on has a secret. The heroine develops through the book from a position of innocence to one of understanding, though ultimately, she too, becomes embroiled in the activities of the ship. Nilan handles the story with vigour, evocatively recreating the sights and sounds of each island in turn. The hero and heroine are sympathetic and the minor characters are richly and accurately portrayed. The narrative is trimmed down to the minimum; nothing gets in the way of the main story. We should expect a lot more from Mary Margaret Nilan in the future. I look forward to reading her next book.
Be forewarned: Once you begin to read THE BURIED LIFE, you will not want to put this novel down. I certainly did not want to stop at the end of any of the chapters. I just had to know: What happens next? Once I finished, my husband began to read and felt the same; kept asking: "What happens?" Of course, I would not tell! After he finished, we both had so many enjoyable conversations talking about the book. We both agreed: This novel is a winner! It is beautifully written, seeming to just flow so effortlessly. Of course the setting on a cruise was delightful and we felt as though we had been to each of those Caribbean islands. However, what really added to the final impact of the story were the exact details and images from the cold-war years and the inner workings of espionage. No doubt about it: This novel is definitely a winner. But, again, fair warning: Once you begin to read it, you just will not want to stop!
What a fantastic novel. And this is only Nilan's first? The writing is outstanding, with marvelous attention to structure, language, and detail. These elements are so often sadly lacking in today's novels. This espionage tale is fascinating on so many different levels. Yes, the foreign setting, involving intrigue interlinked with romance, is reminiscent of many best-sellers. However, this novel offers the reader so very much more! Nilan has used her talents beautifully in the creation of larger-than-life characters with an eye for delicate detail, while rounding out the undercurrent of relationships, preserving the whole, and leading us to the sursprising, satisfactory ending.
Although this novel is definitely literary fiction, it has cross-currents of many readers' favorite genres, which just naturally dovetail into one another. Yes, there is a true mystery puzzle in an era of the coldest of espionage or "information gathering." But then the suspense of present and past are bound together by a touching, so realistic romance. The numerous characters, from various different countries, are as surprising, complex, and intriguing as the unique plot which has a real techno-thriller double-twist for an ending.
Put this novel in the romantic suspense catagory. In 1983 Leigh McCormack takes a Caribbean cruise and meets a handsome member of the ship's crew. Being a non-conformist, she refuses to take the tours arranged by the cruise line but goes off on her own at the various ports-of-call, getting herself into some interesting scrapes including some which make her believe that there is more going on than just an ordinary cruise. This is during the Cold War and the Reagan administration. Fast forward to the present. The lovers meet again under strange circumstances. And the rest, as is said, is history.